Reactions to trauma
There are many different responses to a traumatic event. It is not unusual to feel unsettled in the first few days following such an incident.
Listed below are some of the responses you may experience all of which are normal reactions to trauma:
- inability to concentrate, or make simple decisions
- impulsive actions, or searching for quick fixes
- irritability, anger, or violence
- disturbed sleep, or upsetting thoughts, dreams and nightmares
- loss of interest in your family, friends and daily routine
- changes in sexual interest
- loss of confidence
- headaches, nausea, stomach pains, chest tightness, muscle pain, feeling unwell
- listlessness and feeling tired
- increased sensitivity
- pounding heart, rapid breathing
- changes in appetite
- increased use of tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs, etc.
How to manage your response to trauma
Understand that everyone reacts differently to trauma.
Maintain your work routine as much as possible but understand that you may not perform at your best during this time. Discuss any issues or concerns with your manager.
Allow yourself to feel sad about what happened.
Take time out to rest, sleep, think and care for yourself.
Eat healthy meals. Be careful not to skip meals or to overeat.
Be mindful of your concentration levels. Research has shown that concentration can be diminished following traumatic events. Take extra care whilst driving or operating machinery.
Maintain your social network with friends and family.
Seek advice and support if you increase your use of tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs from your GP
Acknowledge your feelings and discuss these with a friend, family member or your GP.
Sources of support available to you
If you experience any prolonged response to the traumatic incident impacting on your health, you should seek advice and support.
Where to go for support:
- your GP
- the NHS has a specific web page for Trauma and PTSD
- your Department or Division may have access to Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
- Talking Space offers a range of free therapies that have been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
- Mind offers advice and more links to support networks
- Samaritans offers an immediate one to one discussion at times of distress (call for free on 116 123)
- Victim Support offers support and advice for victims of any crime